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What's the difference between ITAM and CMDB?

IT Service Management (ITSM) offers various terms that often lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Much like other fields and industries, emerging trends are sprouting like mushrooms after a rainstorm, accompanied by new terms and definitions that can be rather confusing.
Jana Mančíková

5. 12. 2023

In this article, we’ll take a look at two common terms in the filed of IT Service Management – IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB). These terms are fundamental for defining not only processes but also the benefits that they can bring to your company.

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

IT Asset Management takes care of the whole IT asset lifecycle, from the moment they're obtained (procured) to the day they say goodbye (disposed of). It keeps track of what type of asset it is, where they are located, and who is responsible for it.

ITAM is often overlook and buried inside ITSM software, but it can greatly help you to efficiently track all assets and save quite large amount of money.

Benefits of IT Asset Management

  • Saving budget: As previously mentioned, ITAM saves money by organizing and managing assets. You gain precise control over your hardware inventory, including the number of assets in stock, the number in use, and the number that need to be purchased. ITAM goes even further by providing warranty information for each asset and tracking the number of times it has been repaired. The same applies to software licenses, ensuring that you have an overview of license usage and compliance.
  • Enhanced cyber security: ITAM is important for keeping your data safe by tracking all your IT equipment. This helps you spot and fix security problems before someone steals your data. 
  • Compliance in control: ITAM facilitates compliance with regulations such as GDPR and ISO 27001 by ensuring that all assets are properly inventoried and securely disposed of. This comprehensive approach minimizes the risk of regulatory violations and protects your business from potential liabilities.
  • Decision-making based on hard data: ITAM improves decision-making and aids in budget planning by providing a holistic view of IT assets. This comprehensive understanding enables you to allocate resources effectively and make informed decisions in new technologies, optimizing your IT infrastructure for long-term success.

Discover how to track IT assets and obtain data you can trust with ALVAO, download the webinar recording here.

What is Configuration Management Database CMDB?

When you have a complete overview of all IT and even non-IT assets, the configuration management database comes in play. You need to have not only a list of assets and their data but also linkages and relationships among them.

Configuration database is a mapped framework of your IT infrastructure for your hardware, software and network components. It is like a ground stone for your house.

This framework guarantees visibility and control over the IT assets and their distribution. You have real-time data over IT components (assets) and their relationships. For example, when one server goes down, you can immediately see what services and components are effected and will be shut down or only work partially.

Benefits of CMDB

  • Better cyber security: CMDB facilitates effective incident and problem management by providing accurate configuration details of IT assets. IT team can quickly identify the root cause of incidents, implement appropriate workarounds, and prevent recurring issues.
  • Easier decision-making: CMDB provides enough IT asset data, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions about IT infrastructure management.
  • Improvement of IT service delivery: Thanks to a better understanding the relationships between IT assets and their configurations, IT team can provide better IT service delivery and make more informed decision about change management.

The benefit of the CMDB approach is to avoid issues that may occur when software and hardware systems are not properly configured.

Configuration management is all about prevention, investing today can save very costly issues tomorrow.

Overall, if you're wondering which is more important, ITAM or CMDB, both are equally essential for a well-functioning IT environment. However, implementing both at once can be hassle. We recommend to begin by organizing and tracking IT assets and components before implementing a CMDB

With our ALVAO IT Asset Management software, you can be confident that your assets and CMDB are well-managed and secure. Check it out here.

Wondering about other IT Asset Management terms like HAM and SAM? Read it here.